Southwest Michigan Today: Wednesday January 9, 2018

Jan 9, 2019

File photo of members of the group Justice for Otsego
Credit Greyson Steele / WMUK

The state now says wells in Otsego are not contaminated after retesting. The Michigan Education Department objects to A-F grades for the state’s schools. WMU men’s basketball loses on the road. 

(WCMU) Residential wells in Otsego have tested negative for dioxin chemicals after a state retest. Last year roughly 20 wells tested positive for dioxin at levels just under the safe drinking water standard. The chemical is considered highly toxic and has been linked to reproductive problems and cancer. Scott Dean with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says laboratory equipment used for the testing last year was contaminated. He says a different laboratory was used for the new round of testing. It showed all but one well had no dioxin contamination. Dean says one well had contamination levels well below the drinking water standard.

(MPRN) Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive directive she says will help secure equal pay for equal work among state employees. The directive prohibits state agencies and departments from asking about a potential employee's current or previous salaries until they give the applicant a conditional offer of employment that includes proposed compensation. Critics of the move say there is an earnings gap, not a pay gap. They say women earn less than men overall because they take different jobs that tend to pay less.

(WKAR) The Michigan Department of Education says a controversial new school accountability law will not improve student achievement. Republican lawmakers passed the so-called “A-F” grading law in the waning days of the lame duck legislature. The law would assign letter grades to Michigan schools starting this fall. Educators say that would set back efforts to put less reliance on standardized testing. The Michigan Department of Education is asking Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to review the law to avoid conflicting with existing state and federal statutes.

(Michigan Radio) Michigan’s economic outlook for the first half of 2019 is strong, according to a new survey. The Michigan Economic Outlook Survey measures feedback from business and other groups across the state and country. There are possible concerns about a slowdown later in the year, especially if national political issues stay unresolved. And doubts about the state's k-12 education system remain a workforce development concern.

In men’s basketball Western Michigan has lost the first two Mid-American Conference games of the season after falling at Kent State Tuesday night 88-73. Both of the Broncos’ MAC games so far have been played on the road. Western will host Toledo Saturday afternoon.